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Mozilla postpones Firefox 3.6 update plan

Users of the 2010-era browser won't be prompted to upgrade to the new Firefox 7 until Mozilla is sure its servers are up to the task.

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Mozilla has postponed its plan to prompt Firefox 3.6 users to upgrade to the latest version of the open-source Web browser to make sure its servers are up to snuff.

The organization had planned to flip a switch so that users of Firefox 3.6 would be prompted to get the latest version, Firefox 7.0.1. That change that would get a large fraction of people onto Mozilla's rapid-release process--Firefox 3.6 was the second most widely used version of the browser in September, and Mozilla expects the upgrade prompt to encourage a lot of people to make the move.

But Mozilla chose to delay the move.

"The previously scheduled 3.6-to-7.0.1 advertised update is now postponed while we make sure our server capacity is sufficient for release," said release manager Christian Legnitto in a blog post. "Once the investigation is complete I will communicate a new date well in advance so all stakeholders can plan accordingly."

Running servers for major online services can be tough. Mozilla said yesterday it was having server overload problems for Firefox Sync, a service to keep bookmarks, passwords, tabs, and other settings in step across multiple versions of the browser.

Firefox 7 is one of the new series of rapid-release versions of the browser, with smaller updates now coming every six weeks rather than a dramatically different version coming every year to a year and a half.

Mozilla is working to ease problems with the rapid-release program, though, including making Firefox update notices less obtrusive, moving to a less conservative approach of marking add-ons as compatible by default with new versions of the browser, and proposing a slower-moving Enterprise Support Release of Firefox that has a lifespan of 42 weeks, with new ESR versions arriving every 30 weeks.